The 23rd Other Minds Festival, focused on the art of Sound Poetry, took place in San Francisco at the ODC/Dance Theatre over the course of six days (April 9-14, 2018); OM’s longest festival to date which included five concerts and a day of lectures and workshops. This year’s line-up brought together old and new masters from several countries, all well representing the “intermedium between poetry and music”: Beth Anderson (US), Mark Applebaum (US), Tone Åse (Norway), Jaap Blonk (Netherlands), Alvin Curran (US/Italy), Sheila Davies Sumner (US), Enzo Minarelli (Italy), Amy X Neuberg (US), Ottar Ormstad (Norway), Aram Saroyan (US), Susan Gilmore Stone (US), Anne Waldman (US), Taras Mashtalir (Russia); Lily Greenham (Denmark), Pamela Z (US); Michael McClure (US), Sten Sandell (Sweden), and Clark Coolidge (US).
Saturday April 14, Concert 5 - Ink Conclusion
The festival concludes with an array of composers, poets and writers from the Bay Area, New York and Europe including Pamela Z, Beth Anderson, Susan Stone, Sheila Davies Sumner and Jaap Blonk.
Quatre Couches/Flare Stains (2015)
33 Arches (from Span) (2015)
Pop Titles ‘You’ (1986)
Other Rooms (2018), SF premiere
Ensemble for “33 Arches”: Samuel Nelson, viola; Crystal Pascucci, cello; Tom Dambly, trumpet; Richard Marriott, trombone; Pamela Z, voice; Karen Stackpole, gong samples.
From the composer: To assemble tonight’s little suite, I selected short pieces or movements from the works in my repertoire that draw on language for their content, structure or sound palette.
Quatre Couches (2015) is a sonic trifle, tiramisu, or mille-feuille – juxtaposing four contrasting layers and manually toying with them – mixing them and moving them around on the plate until they all melt away. Flare Stains(2010) is a sonic poem describing charred wax residue on asphalt.
Typewriter (1995) uses voice, processing, and typewriter samples triggered with an ultrasound gesture controller, and Declaratives (2005) granulates and fragments live and sampled text fragments that were originally created for a six-channel sound installation in an exhibition called The Art of Artist Statement.
33 Arches is the third movement of Span (2015), an intermedia chamber work that I made in collaboration with video artist Carole Kim – exploring the history, architecture, engineering and cultural impact of bridges. I composed Span for viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, percussion, voice & electronics, and sampled speech taken from interviews I conducted with bridge specialists at the architectural engineering firm ARUP. This movement features my voice; the voice of Pouya Banibayat, an Iranian-American bridge engineer; Crystal Pascucci, cello; Samuel Nelson, viola; Tom Dambly, trumpet; Richard Marriott trombone; and gong samples (originally played by Karen Stackpole).
Pop Titles ‘You’ (1986) is a found text piece for voice and three delay lines. The text was taken from a page out of the Phonolog Report, a reference publication that was once found at the center of every record store – cataloguing the titles, composers, and performers of all commercial recordings that were currently in print. This piece, which first appeared on my 1988 ZED recording, Echolocation, was later used as one of the segments of my 1995 radio piece and 1998 performance work, Parts of Speech. A studio recording of Pop Titles ‘You’ is available on my Starkland CD A Delay is Better.
To compose Other Rooms (2018), I took samples of the speaking voice of writer Paul David Young from an interview I recorded as part of the process of making my intermedia performance work Memory Trace.
Sheila Davies Sumner
Static (1983) for tape
Sheila Davies Sumner has written and produced original radio dramas, commissioned by New American Radio, including The Opponent’s Queen: Detail, adapted from an epistolary novel; and What is the Matter in Amy Glennon? which received a Prix Futura special commendation for experimental radio. Additionally, she has recorded soundtracks for telephone dramas, dance performances, films, and music festivals, notably New Music America. In 2016, she collaborated with filmmaker, Douglas Sandberg on an audio-visual triptych, entitled Three Terellas.
The piece Static, produced at KPFA Radio by Charles Amirkhanian, is a sonic commentary about the multiple aspects of Interference. Accompanying musicians are Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser, guitars.
Beth Anderson (with Michael Jones, percussion)
Text-sound is the use of words and phonemes to make a kind of percussive vocal music. I wrote If I Were A Poet (what would I say) to get into Poets and Writers, Inc. It was a success.
I Can’t Stand It (1976). When I first moved to New York from California
I had a little trouble adjusting to the level of aggression. I really couldn’t stand it...but of course, I did. Assertiveness training helped. It was recorded on Sugar, Alcohol & Meat, a Dial-A-Poem Poets LP in 1980 and on a privately produced 45 record. It’s on the Pogus CD, Peachy Keen-O.
Crackers and Checkers (1977) is a magic square piece in which the words break down right away into other words and parts of words.
Country Time (1981) records what I saw and felt when I walked around on my grandmother’s farm in Kentucky one day.
Killdeer and Chicory (2005). Killdeer are little brown birds. They fly along in front of your car on sunny country roads. They swoop down and light on the road right in front of you. They seem to get away but you are never sure if you have killed them, if the ones flying ahead of you are the original birds or their friends. Chicory is a small blue wildflower from whose roots you can make a bitter coffee substitute. The flowers are very bright and usually the only thing blooming in the heat of summer.
Ocean Motion Mildew Mind (1979). The first letter of each word in the title spells “Ommm.” Aside from the title, the piece is a kind of homage to punk rock and CBGB’s.
Yes Sir Ree (1978). “Yes sir ree (he’s something to see)” is something that Richard Levi at the Clark Center in NYC used to yell at the dancers as he taught a kind of jazzy Horton class. I used to play piano improvisation for this class. Richard used to say the most amazing things to the dancers. I put some of them into this piece.
Susan is a sound artist and producer who is developing a form of radio art she describes as “Cinema in the head.” Through a migration across the diverse identities of radio – as
information source, as music box, as portal to another world – she explores new territory of radiophonic play.
Couch (1989) and Ruby (1993) are from House With a View, which Susan describes as “...a home movie constructed from the dreams, confessions, lullabies and most intimate monologues of an unusual assortment of residents found throughout the HOUSE.”
Doctor Voxoid’s Next Move is Jaap Blonk’s current voice and electronics performance. It is in constant development, new possibilities being added frequently. He prefers to choose a specific program on the spot and may even change it during a performance.
It may contain:
• sound poetry (his own works and possibly an occasional “classic” from this tradition)
• pieces in invented languages, for instance in Onderlands (the language of the Underlands, a variation on Netherlands)
• phonetic etudes and processes
• live soundscapes
• improvisations, both for solo voice and in dialogue with his live electronics and more...
Other pieces to be performed tonight will be: Excerpts from Onderland (Underlands);
Rhotic (Phonetic Study #1, about the R); Muzikaret (Music Made of Rubber); Cheek-a-Synth; Hommage à A.A. (for Antonin Artaud)
Blonk brings a shamanistic abandon to his performances, drawing the listener into and subjecting them to the orators oscillating state of mania. Like Jekyl and Hyde, Doctor Voxoid begins a lucid lecture on the history of sound poetry before unknowingly devolving into the realm of semantic meaninglessness, while the very physically active Blonk unloads a series of grunted and growled phonemic shrapnel.
[Notes taken from printed program.]
For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: radiOM.org